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SPECIAL REPORT: After Lagos mosque collapse, our promising daughter now without legs, Parents cry to Sanwo-Olu

*Reveal terrible experience with LASUTH staff *'They made us feel undeserving of justice over our daughter's plight' *MURIC reacts, warns LASUTH against threat to evict amputee girl-child before recovery *Govt acted but needs to do more - Investigation


“They made us watch our promising daughter unwilingly lose her two legs due to circumstances they caused and they still made us look like fools undeserving of justice,” Mrs Rashidat Lasisi concluded as the victim’s father, Mr. Lasisi and other listening persons cried profusely.

It was an all emotion-laden atmosphere as parents of Naeemat Lasisi relayed their encounter with some medical officials of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, while speaking to pressmen, on Saturday July 6, 2024.

Naeemat Lasisi was involved in the mosque collapse that occurred by the catapillar of Lagos State government contractor, said to have caused the  mosque building collapse in circumstances now being interpreted as seeming deliberate.

Our findings revealed that the interpretation was predicated not only on Governor Babajude Sanwo-Olu’s continued silence over the incident but also, even on the attitude of some staff of the teaching hospital pouncing on parents of the victim, now an amputee, at any slight provocation with countless ill words hurled at them, despite the pains they sustained from bemoaning their promising 13-year-daughter now live without legs.

For victims of accident of that magnitude caused by government contractor, it was expectamed that not only the government would take care of medical treatment of the amputee girl-child but also would pay some compensations that would include monetary, artificial limbs and how the girl education would now be pursued up to university level since the she is still in high spirit to continue her education.

The extent of Naeemat Lasisi commitment to educatio could be seen in her not being hindered by the accident as she sat for her ongoing Junior School Certificate Examination, which had to be specially arranged for her on tireless effort of her parents, while in the hospital bed at LASUTH.

“For a girl, whose amputated legs are yet to heal up, they tried to discharge her for us to take home despite that we have been the ones paying for all the treatments they carried out on her,” said the father, Mr. Ganiyu Lasisi.

“It took me having to raise alarm before they could begin to attend to her the first day she was brought to the hospital. Now they said they wanted to interview her a d all the things she would say were put in her mouths by the doctors. They said the interview would lead to Governor Babajude Sanwo-Olu taking up her bills.

“Their suspicious behaviours made us seek help from Professor Ishaq Akintola of MURIC to help us look into the matter. Since we have been here, they treated us like shit. They said bad words into our heads that we felt we were suffering multiple damages of our daughter’s losing her two legs and now of our human dignity being trampled upon,” he spoke in Yoruba.

The DEFENDER’s investigations revealed that plight of the Lasisi family started on May 26, 2024 with the Al-Mutmahinat Mosque located at Yusuf Street, Papa Ajao, Mushin, which came down forcefully when a caterpillar belonging to the Lagos State Government accidentally pulled down its main pillar while people were praying inside.

Two people died in the accident while 15 others suffered various degrees of injuries,  among whom were 16-years-old Naeemat Lasisi whose two legs have now been amputated as a result of the sad event.

The hospital experience was one traumatising as state health officials, who should bring calm and hope to patients especially victims of government’s ineptitude like Naeemat Lasisi, became the very compounding factors to their horrible condition.

Unfortunately, and unusual too, to the spate of news spread regarding building collapse in Lagos State, that the mosque collapse did not trend either in the mainstream media or social media formed part of the mistrust that tended to paint it as a government calculated attempt to black out the incident from being heard and ensure it was not reported until the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Nigeria’s foremost Islamic rights advocate, stepped in and raised the incident in press release.

According to Mrs Rashidat Lasisi, mother of the amputee girl-child, “What happened on that day was not just a mosque building collapse but a collapse caused by catapillar of government team constructing road in the area. When I got there I met the catapillar and saw that it was the one that dug the pillar of the mosque thereby causing the building to collapse on worshippers praying inside of it including Naeemat and her two other siblings.”

Asked what the government’s effort had been, knowing they caused the accident, Mrs Lasisi said, “It was government that took her to the hospital, LASUTH, in Ikeja. Her father got to the hospital before me. But to our surprise, as he said to me, she was abandoned and not attended to, despite the condition of the legs and I have photographs of the legs, until he went and screaned at them they now fell on one another to attend to her.”

She continued, “On Sunday they told the father, who had footed her medical bills for the first two days, not to pay again as they said government was going to pay for her treatment from then on.  Aside the amputation of the legs and treatment of the wound to heal up, other things they said they will do, when we met Professor Adekoya, CMD of LASUTH, and he said that he could understand our fear was about the legs being amputated but that we should not worry because, according to him, government had made adequate preparations for the girl as promised including artifical legs and other things. He gave examples of people in high places today who had gone through similar condition and assured us it will not disturb her career.

“That was why we accepted the amputation based on his assurances that before the girl is discharged, we would both come to conclusion based on those assurances communicated by the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH to be certain that, from government by way of compensation, the future of the girl is secured. They gave us assurances that her treatment will be continuous when necessary and that educationally the government will take responsibility. Her first leg was amputated in surgical emergency but the second one was done at the orthopaedic.”

“Trouble started when the LASUTH staff started playing some games clearly blaming us for everything. They said they saw the case on social media and queried what concerns Professor Ishaq Akintola of MURIC in this matter? And they threatened to discharge our daughter even when she is yet to be fully recovered and in pains.

“They organised an interview of the girl but everything she must say in the interview was put in her her mouth. I then told MURIC Executive Director who sent his Media Assistant, Mr. Lawal, to come and be part of whatever interview so long it is press matter and concerning Naeemat Lasisi.

“I later realised that they didn’t want anybody to know about the interview. But when the girl had accident, it was public. Why did they want to keep handling of her matter secret? I suspected foul play and that was confirmed when upon seeing the MURIC media assistant, despite identifying himself with ID card, one of the doctors ordered his arrest, dragged him, collected his ID card and took his phone to ICT where they deleted all his recording of the interview. They then detained him in a room at security post. Naeemat father got angry and made sure he went with them as they maltreatment the MURIC official.

“The nurses, later on the next day, called me  to one room where they said, ‘So, you people took us to social media abi? We see all’, and they started bulling and threatening me that they are going to discharge my daughter and I should take her to wherever I like. They however said if I like, I should tell anybody what they did to me in that room. They didn’t want anybody to know.

“My question is, what did we do to deserve the kind of treatment being metted to us at LASUTH? Did we cause the mosque collapse that led to the condition of our daughter? Okay, government caused it. Now, why should government put our daughter to the condition of an amputee and still make us go through ridicule and abuses as if the trauma we suffer is not enough? They made us watch our promising daughter unwilingly lose her two legs due to circumstances they caused and they still made us look like fools undeserving of justice,” Mrs Rashidat Lasisi concluded as the victim’s father, Mr. Lasisi and other listening persons cried profusely.

The DEFENDER’s effort to get the LASUTH’s side suffered traumatic drama, when the LASUTH CMD, Professor Adekoya, contacted on phone, turned down our enquiry saying he does not talk to anonymous though we were adequately introduced to him.

Professor Adekoya demanded that our reporter comes to his teaching hospital and show his ID card for proper identification.  He begged to discontinue when he was reminded of how a media assistant that came and duly identified himself was maltreated, rough-handled and his identity card seized by his doctors and was asked, “Of what benefit will our ID card, therefore, be to you sir, if we come physically? It is enough the introduction we did,” and he ended the call.

Govt acted but should do more – Fact-check

Although neither the government nor LASUTH was willing to speak on the matter, our independent investigations with MURIC team showed that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration was not wholely as indifferent. These were, however, revealed by both father and mother of the girl.

The parents paid for expenses incurred in the hospital only in the first two days. Government paid for the rest, drugs, food, and others.

The problem, our investigation revealed, was the attitude of the staff of LASUTH and how they attempted to evict an amputee girl-child  yet to be full recovered and without discussing post-discharge treatment, how she would get artificial legs, her education, and others.

She must not be evicted – MURIC

In the meantime, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has reacted to the pathetic narrations by the patents, saying LASUTH must not evict the amputee girl-child victim of the mosque collapse.

MURIC had cried out over the marching order given to Naeemat Lasisi, the 13-year-old victim of the collapsed mosque in Mushin, Lagos whose two legs have been amputated.

The human rights organization appealed to the government of Lagos State whose caterpillar pulled down the mosque to intervene.

The appeal was contained in a press statement issued on 8th July, 2024, by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola and copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER on Monday.

The statement read, “Al-Mutmahinat Mosque located at Yusuf Street, Papa Ajao, Mushin, came down forcefully on 28th May, 2024 when a caterpillar belonging to the Lagos State Government accidentally pulled down its main pillar while people were praying inside. Two people died in the accident while 15 others suffered various degrees of injuries. Among the injured persons were 16 years old Naeemat Lasisi whose two legs have been amputated.

“It will be recalled that MURIC has been calling on the state government to take full responsibility. However, LASG has remained silent to date on the issue. Meanwhile the General Hospital, Ikeja, where the victim is being treated has demonstrated objection to MURIC’s agitation.

“An attempt made by the hospital to interview the victim and her two parents on Friday, 5th July, 2024 led to the harassment of the Media Assistant to MURIC’s Executive Director, Mr. Abdul Fatah Abiodun Lawal, within the premises of the hospital. His phone and identity card were seized while he was detained by the hospital authorities for more than two hours.

“The parents stood by the MURIC official and insisted that he should be released because they were the ones who actually invited him to cover the interview. The hospital authorities deleted the video clip of the interview recorded by Mr. Lawal before releasing his telephone and identity card.

“The nurses in the ward immediately told the traumatized mother of the patient to take her daughter away from the hospital because she had been ‘discharged’. This threat was repeated this morning.

“MURIC condemns this stick and carrot treatment of a girl-child whose legs have just been amputated. This is an eviction, not a discharge. It is premature discharge.

“Even the insults and abuses hurled at her parents are quite unbecoming. It is callous, inhuman and unprofessional. Both the patient and her parents have been exposed to unbearable psychological trauma.

“We denounce the attempt by the hospital authorities to organize a manipulated interview where the underaged girl patient was expected to respond to questions only ‘as earlier instructed’. What the hospital authorities do not know is that apart from the video clip which they forcefully deleted from the telephone of the MURIC official, we have another audio clip which confirms attempted manipulation.

“In conclusion and in view of the biased position of LASUTH authorities, we appeal to the Executive Governor of Lagos State, the Commissioner for Health, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, to intervene in the interest of justice. Naeemat Lasisi’s legs were amputated as a result of an accident caused by a caterpillar belonging to the Lagos State Government.

“To that extent, the staff of LASUTH should stop treating them like beggars and interlopers. The insults and abuses must stop and the poor girl should not be evicted from her bed.

“We appeal to all men of goodwill, all parents in Lagos, all women who are mother’s themselves, the press and all members of the civil society (CSOs) to ensure that this poor girl-child receives necessary medical attention including assurances of government’s sponsorship up to university level.”

#LASG, #LASUTH, #AmputeeGirlChild, Professor Ishaq Akintola, Founder/Executive Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), concluded.

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